US News How postal voting could derail the US presidential election
US presidential election: Donald Trump has already voted
On November 3rd, the US citizens will choose their new president. Incumbent Donald Trump has already cast his vote - but not by postal vote. © TOM BRENNER / REUTERS US President Donald Trump made use of the opportunity on Saturday to cast his vote early in the presidential election. Trump went to a polling station in a library in West Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday morning (local time). "I voted for a guy named Trump," he said afterwards into the television cameras.
US elections were simpler when a vast majority of voters came to a polling station to record their choice directly on a machine . This year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, postal voting is exploding, posing human, technical and legal problems.
If the race betweenand is tight on Presidential Election Day, November 3, many expect the battle to go all the way to the Supreme Court.
Estimates show that more Democratic voters than Republicans are likely to vote by mail, and the president's camp has launched numerous legal actions to limit that possibility. Overall, more than 300 procedures regarding changes related to Covid-19 for the election are underway in 44 states, according to the Healthy elections Project at Stanford University and MIT.
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Donald Trump attacked postal voting again on Tuesday. Twitter has flagged its post as "misleading" and will reduce its reach. © Jonathan Ernst / Reuters Donald Trump One week before the US presidential election, Donald Trump continues his work to undermine postal voting. On Tuesday, the US president tweeted: “Big issues and differences with Correspondence Voting across the United States. We must have the total count by November 3.
In the recent elections, around 1% of the ballots mailed were refused, a proportion which may be higher this time. That would mean hundreds of thousands of disputed validity ballots. As a reminder, the 2000 presidential victory was played with a difference of only 537 ballots in Florida.What general context?
In 2016, approximately 139 million Americans voted, including 33 million by mail. This year, analysts believe turnout could be higher with some 150 million voters, up to half of them by mail.What are the rules for voting by mail?
It depends on the States. A handful of them automatically mailed ballots to all voters, but in most you have to ask for them.
In the past, this possibility was reserved in particular for special cases, for example when it was impossible for a person to travel on polling day. But this year, most states have made it open to everyone because of the pandemic.
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© MARCO LONGARI Supporters of the ruling CCM party celebrate the victory of their candidate John Magufuli in the presidential election in Tanzania on October 30, 2020 in the suburbs of Stone Town (Zanzibar) Tanzania's outgoing President John Magufuli was declared the winner of Wednesday's presidential election on Friday evening with 84.39% of the vote cast, according to results announced by the National Election Commission (NEC) .
A majority of States request that the ballot be placed in a signed envelope and then mailed or deposited in a dedicated place. But some are calling for the use of a second “confidentiality” envelope, in which the ballot is first slipped before being put into the return envelope.
In some states, a witness is also required to sign the outer envelope and provide the necessary contact information. In Alabama, two witnesses are even required.What happens to the bulletins?
Votes cast in person are counted automatically, and in most cases announced within a few hours (or even minutes) of the closing of the polling stations.
On the contrary, correspondence bulletins involve a laborious process of counting and checking, and here again, each state has its own rules.
Some will only count the ballots received until election day, while others will accept them up to 10 days after the polling date, if they were sent before or on November 3. This period has sometimes been extended compared to that usually accepted, in anticipation of traffic jams in the postal services due to the flow of mail.
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© Romain Houeix, France 24 Chicago barricades itself before the presidential election of November 3. US citizens are called to the polls on Tuesday to choose between Democrat Joe Biden and incumbent President Donald Trump. In Chicago, the population who fears both the Covid-19 and the post-election violence, are barricaded. Apocalyptic atmosphere in Chicago.
Subsequently, the procedures for verifying signatures, opening envelopes and counting also differ from state to state.
In Colorado, for example, they are open upon receipt. Their counting (provided by a machine), starts 15 days before the election, but no data can be delivered before 7 p.m. on election day.What possible slowdowns?
One of the possible obstacles to the successful conduct of the vote is the ability of the United States Post Office (USPS) to quickly manage the influx of mail. Reforms supposed to straighten the financial trajectory of the public service have had the effect of slowing down distribution, according to some, and the Republicans are accused of wanting to undermine these votes in this way.
Another delay factor is the verification of signatures. In some states it is done automatically, in others it is employees who visually compare the signature with the one recorded in the archives for the voter in question.
But signatures often change over time, and some people have several different ones. Others, younger, do not necessarily have a signature archived by their administration.
For rejected ballots, some states try to contact voters so that they can confirm their signature and thus allow their vote to be finally taken into account. But it takes time.
Another question: should a ballot be invalidated if it is not placed in two envelopes when required? In Pennsylvania, where this case could involve tens of thousands of votes, it was decided that these so-called "naked" ballots would not be accepted. But some states will take them into account.
27/10/2020 14:42:36 - Washington () - © 2020 AFP
US election: Biden faces US election victory - counting continues - Fed should wait after the election .
Democrat Joe Biden is the favorite on the home stretch, while the last votes in the US presidential election are counted. © Provided by Finance.net Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images Biden wins major states After winning major states, challenger Biden seems only a few steps away from the White House. Incumbent Donald Trump, however, claimed the victory for himself and sent his lawyers off with lawsuits in several states.